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Old 06-03-2013, 07:51 AM   #1
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towing vehicle

We have a 19 on order for late summer completion and now need to start our search for a tow vehicle. My wife really likes the new Toyota Highlanders even though I favor the Honda Pilot somewhat. I want her to share some of the driving so we will probably end up with the Toyota. When we were out test driving them this weekend I noticed the Highlanders that had a factory hitch and tow package came with a flat 4 wire connector on bumper. So here are my questions.

Does Toyota do the conversion to 7 wire at the dealership or is it something I would need to go elsewhere to have this done?

What about the break controller? We were going to add that to our options from Escape but would it be better to purchase it now and have it setup before our trip to Chilliwack?

Can you get all this done at the factory when you pick it up your trailer from Tammy and Reace?

And finally, are the 19 owners out there who are towing with the newer (2009 or later) Highlanders happy with their towing experiences?

Thanks,
John
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Old 06-03-2013, 08:34 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Jrn56 View Post
We have a 19 on order for late summer completion and now need to start our search for a tow vehicle. My wife really likes the new Toyota Highlanders even though I favor the Honda Pilot somewhat. I want her to share some of the driving so we will probably end up with the Toyota. When we were out test driving them this weekend I noticed the Highlanders that had a factory hitch and tow package came with a flat 4 wire connector on bumper. So here are my questions.

Does Toyota do the conversion to 7 wire at the dealership or is it something I would need to go elsewhere to have this done?

What about the break controller? We were going to add that to our options from Escape but would it be better to purchase it now and have it setup before our trip to Chilliwack?

Can you get all this done at the factory when you pick it up your trailer from Tammy and Reace?

And finally, are the 19 owners out there who are towing with the newer (2009 or later) Highlanders happy with their towing experiences?

Thanks,
John
John, our Tacoma with tow package came with the round 7 wire. I would first talk with the Toyota dealership people and see what your options are from them. If Toyota has it as an option to get the 7 wire, then it will also come prewired and ready for a brake controller to just be plugged into the system.

Eric
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Old 06-03-2013, 11:22 AM   #3
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Also, make sure the hitch receiver from Toyota is a Class III so you can use a weight distribution hitch. The factory hitch for my 2008 RAV4 was only class II so I went with an after-market hitch receiver.
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Old 06-03-2013, 12:16 PM   #4
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With a newer Pilot there are no worries, it comes ready for tow. Some of the lower models need the wiring at the hitch, and they all need a brake controller, but with my Touring model, it was just plug and play.
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Old 06-03-2013, 12:36 PM   #5
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Also, make sure the hitch receiver from Toyota is a Class III so you can use a weight distribution hitch. The factory hitch for my 2008 RAV4 was only class II so I went with an after-market hitch receiver.
It looks like the Toyota factory hitch is class III but includes a flat 4 wire harness. It seems like a vehicle with a towing capacity of 5000 lbs would be wired for trailer brakes. I guess Honda is a little smarter.
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Old 06-03-2013, 02:30 PM   #6
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Toyota factory hitch ( class II ) cost $300 more than the class III I had installed. And my install included brake controller. Install was done in Toyota dealer shop.
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Old 06-03-2013, 10:30 PM   #7
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John, The Highlander with the factory tow package still requires a converter and a wiring harness, all for a 4 wire setup. You have to have someone or yourself add extra wiring for the 7 wire setup. It's any easy project to do - I have done 4 Highlanders thus far. Here's a writeup on how to do it,

Wiring for 7 Wire Trailer Setup - Toyota Nation Forum : Toyota Car and Truck Forums

A Toyota dealer may do it, but it could get costly. Some have had an independent shop or even U-Haul do the job. I don't think that Escape would take on this wiring job. Again, a job you could do by yourself or with a friend to help out. If you or have someone do the wiring I would suggest that you also put in the brake controller before picking up your Escape. Unfortunately, Toyota has not applied the Plug-n-Play brake controller concept to the Highlander.

To summarized, you need a hitch, converter, wire harness (all from Toyota or third party like trailer.com), brake controller and additional wiring (for the electric brakes and to charge the trailer battery from the TV alternator).

I tow my 19 Escape with a 2008 Highlander and my younger son also tows it with his 2012 Highlander. We are both pleased with the combination.

Rick
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Old 06-03-2013, 10:44 PM   #8
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John,

We picked up our 19' Escape about a month ago. We tow with a 2012 Highlander and have been very pleased with the combo. I must admit the mpg kind of suprised me, I have been getting around 15 miles to the gallon so far, better than I expected. I had a independent shop handle the wiring for the 7 pin and brake controller.
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Old 06-04-2013, 09:04 AM   #9
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It sounds like people are happy towing a 19 with the Highlander. Since we will be driving this vehicle everyday without towing it needs to meet those needs too. The Pilot is still in the running too.

Thanks for the feedback,
John
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Old 06-04-2013, 10:02 AM   #10
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It seems strange that the car company's still seem perplexed at what equiptment people need to tow trailers. For the most part they have it figured out with full Size trucks with built in brake controllers and such but they sure seem to be missing the mark with smaller vehicles
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Old 06-04-2013, 10:45 AM   #11
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John,

We picked up our 19' Escape about a month ago. We tow with a 2012 Highlander and have been very pleased with the combo. I must admit the mpg kind of suprised me, I have been getting around 15 miles to the gallon so far, better than I expected. I had a independent shop handle the wiring for the 7 pin and brake controller.
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It seems strange that the car company's still seem perplexed at what equiptment people need to tow trailers. For the most part they have it figured out with full Size trucks with built in brake controllers and such but they sure seem to be missing the mark with smaller vehicles
I agree. A vehicle capable of towing 5000 lbs should be outfitted to use trailer breaks. Honda seems to understand this but not Toyota. I had trailer brakes when towing a 2500 lb boat and trailer. It was much safer towing that way when the boat had a full tank of gas and other gear.
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Old 06-04-2013, 06:37 PM   #12
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Rick / dkdoyle,

Do you use a WDH with your 19 and Highlander?
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Old 06-04-2013, 06:51 PM   #13
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Yes I use a WDH that I got when I picked up the Escape

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Old 06-04-2013, 07:42 PM   #14
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Yes I use a WDH that I got when I picked up the Escape

Rick

Same as Rick
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Old 06-04-2013, 09:13 PM   #15
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A vehicle capable of towing 5000 lbs should be outfitted to use trailer breaks. Honda seems to understand this but not Toyota.
Quote:
Originally Posted by dave macrae View Post
It seems strange that the car company's still seem perplexed at what equiptment people need to tow trailers. For the most part they have it figured out with full Size trucks with built in brake controllers and such but they sure seem to be missing the mark with smaller vehicles
I don't think that this is a size or brand issue. I think Toyota equips vehicles with "truck" chassis (Tundra, Sequoia, Tacoma, 4Runner, FJ) with pre-wiring for trailers (including brake control connection), but not the other platforms... and other brands are similar.

Honda is unusual because they don't have a traditional truck chassis line, so their customers who seriously tow tend to get the Pilot or Ridgeline, and those models are equipped accordingly. They even have integrated hitches... because if they didn't have these features they would lose customers entirely, while at Toyota or Nissan it's just a reason to upsell to a heavier SUV.

The built-in brake controllers have only recently appeared in anything less than the biggest (e.g. Ford SuperDuty rather than F-150) and best equipped models, even among the full-size trucks.
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Old 06-05-2013, 07:25 AM   #16
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John, I'm wondering why your wife prefers the Highlander. We have been considering both.

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Old 06-05-2013, 07:46 AM   #17
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John, I'm wondering why your wife prefers the Highlander. We have been considering both.

Ruth
Ruth, She prefers the more car like ride of the Highlander. I noticed this too but the Pilot would work for me too. They are both really nice! We are used to driving small Mazdas so anything that can tow the 19 seems huge to us. I used to pull a boat with a full size pickup but it has been a few years and my wife rarely drove. I had to sell my toys to put the kids through college. We hope to do a lot of traveling now and into our retirement so I want to make sure she is comfortable handling some of the driving.
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Old 06-05-2013, 09:06 AM   #18
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I think most of the new SUV's drive nice. This ease of driving is why my wife likes the Pilot. I actually turns WAY tighter than her Mazda6 Sport Wagon, making parking lots easier to deal with.

I have driven my brothers 2012 Jeep Cherokee a few times, and it is nice to drive too.
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Old 06-05-2013, 10:08 AM   #19
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We have friends with both vehicles and both have good reviews and reputations. Probably the reality is which ever one you like to drive the most will be a good fit.
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Old 06-05-2013, 02:40 PM   #20
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I think most of the new SUV's drive nice. This ease of driving is why my wife likes the Pilot. I actually turns WAY tighter than her Mazda6 Sport Wagon, making parking lots easier to deal with.

I have driven my brothers 2012 Jeep Cherokee a few times, and it is nice to drive too.
Jim, I have a 2012 Pilot and am thinking of an Escape 19'. Do you need extended mirrors?
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